A Q&A with The Monkeys: Creators of the Viral Womankind Campaign
by Jordana Jarrett
Dec 10, 2018
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It began as an honest campaign for women’s lingerie and body positivity—but quickly ignited into a controversial conversation on Facebook’s censorship policies.
Australian ad agency The Monkeys created the Womankind bra campaign to have a hilariously honest conversation about breasts. How we suppress, shame, constrict, and ultimately don’t support them. The celebratory ad was banned by Facebook for violating its complex censorship rules… which only made it more popular.
We chatted with The Monkeys team about their project (which won the 2018 People’s Voice Award for Best Launch in Advertising, Media & PR), including the challenges of creating a truthful campaign, and the aftermath of a media controversy.
The Womankind campaign aimed to spark an honest conversation about women being underserved by bras and bra ads. How did you go about ensuring your work was honest?
Personal experience played a huge part! We also drew on a lot of anecdotal stories from the casting process, which inspired many of the moments in the film. Our director Kim also did a lot of research into unkindness to boobs over time. It was fascinating. She uncovered bad bras dating back to Roman times!
After your campaign launched on social, Facebook banned it for being “too explicit,” which popularized it! Why do you think this worked in your favor? When creating the campaign, did you think it would be banned?
In launching the womankind bra, first and foremost we wanted to tell the truth about why this bra was such a revelation. We noticed that no one in the category was talking about boobs in this way, as a part of our bodies deserving of kindness and comfort.
That realization was more shocking to us!
The film adhered to social media’s ‘no nipple’ policy, so we felt safe in running it. However, the guidelines turned out to me more complex. Which begged the question, what grounds determine what is ‘indecent’ or ‘offensive’ when it comes to women’s bodies, and who is setting those rules?
That was a conversation many people joined in on, and there was a wave of support from women. This, ultimately helped our message reach more women than our original social media plan.
What were the challenges with putting together this campaign?
Censorship, primarily. It’s hard to tell the truth about boobs and be honest about women’s physical experience without showing the subject!
In doing so, we wanted to be respectful and empathetic to our audience, as well as the women who took part. We were trying show the humorous side of what we do to our bodies, without any judgement, and create an alternate view to the typical depiction seen in lingerie advertising.
What went into crafting the voice of a product and campaign that focused on kindness?
Womankind was a campaign borne out of the product itself. Every aspect of the design of this bra aimed to rectify a problem or irritation with bras, how they fit, how they feel. This informed the tone of the campaign, even down to the name of the bra: “womankind.”
What does your Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Launch mean to you?
This was a local launch and so it means a lot to us to have the idea recognized and enjoyed by so many people around the world thanks to the Webbys’ wide reach. We’re thrilled!